My current creative artistic research aims to investigate the ideologies that encourage many young Chinese women to undergo unnecessary even harmful non-therapeutic cosmetic surgery to conform their appearances to the dominant standards of “the ideal female beauty” in current Chinese society. This in-depth study complements my own paintings, photographs, and videos, in which I present the visible impulse of these invisible ideologies that have begun to change women’s bodies.
In the beginning, I used photographs in medical books of the procedures of cosmetic surgeries to refer to. Later I used myself as the vehicle of my commentary and placed my body at the center of my photographs and videos. In some paintings, I show the desensitized nature of the reconstructive surgery and subsequent trauma and suffering of the body. In other paintings, photographs, and videos, I have reached further into a visual metaphor by merging the different images of the “patient” (myself made-up as a patient) before the surgery, in, and after the healing process.
My studio project questions the shifting socialized ideas of female beauty, refuses the stereotypes of the female images, and reframes the representations of women in Chinese culture and in contemporary Chinese art in particular. I create female images to resist the cycle of producing the representations of women as beautiful objects and to undermine the convention relating women’s art with femininity in Chinese art criticism.